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Demands of holiday air travel rise despite Covid-19 pandemic

May 05, 2021 | 16:56

The amount of passengers passing through the airports rose significantly during the recent four-day national holiday, despite the threat of a new surge of coronavirus pandemic.

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1.5 million passengers passed through the country's airports during the recent four-day national holiday, up 30 percent year-on-year despite a surge in Covid-19 community transmissions.

During the holiday (April 30-May 3), 21 airports managed by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) accommodated 11,000 flights, an increase of 45 percent against 2019's same period.

The country's largest airport Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City reported the highest number of passengers on a single day in history on April 29, a day before the holiday, according to VnExpress.

Air passengers at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Air passengers at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, April 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Vietnamese celebrated the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1) and many left one day earlier for popular tourist destinations or returned home for family reunions.

Earlier, domestic air carriers Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways had opened new air routes to cater to growing travel demand after the country went over one month without community transmissions.

Vietnam has been dealing with a surge in community transmissions since April 29, with 38 cases confirmed.

Huge crowds flocked to local tourist hotspots during the holiday despite the resurgence of Covid-19.

The government closed national borders and canceled all international flights on March 25, 2020. It has since allowed in only Vietnamese repatriates and foreign experts and highly-skilled workers.

Airlines and travel companies are heavily reliant on the boom in domestic tourism to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which broke out in Vietnam in January last year.

Despite the threat of Covid-19, Top tourist destinations were fully booked

Vietnam's top tourist destinations expected large crowds during the last holiday despite bigger Covid-19 risks, booking data from leading travel firms showed.

After over a month without a single case of community transmission, many Vietnamese booked to join tours during the four-day break (April 30-May 3) which marked Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1).

Vietravel reported it had reached 95 percent of its bookings target for the holiday. The company expected to serve a total 15,000 travelers, with many choosing to visit Sa Pa, Ha Long, Hanoi in the north, Phu Quoc Island in the south and coastal city Da Nang in the central region.

People gather at the opening ceremony of Sam Son beach tourism festival in Thanh Hoa Province, April 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Le Hoang.
People gather at the opening ceremony of Sam Son beach tourism festival in Thanh Hoa Province, April 24, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Le Hoang.

A company representative said no customers canceled or delayed their tours despite complicated Covid-19 developments in neighboring countries.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, general director of Hanoi Redtours, said trips to the northeast region, including Ha Giang Province and Sa Pa Town in Lao Cai Province, or the central region were fully booked two weeks ago.

Hoan said after the Covid-19 outbreaks, Vietnamese now tend to visit nearby tourist destinations, with no one requesting to cancel their tours.

In addition to pandemic prevention measures as per Health Ministry protocol, Hanoi Redtours has asked all customers to submit health declarations before departure and install Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a Covid-19 patient.

Tran Thi Bao Thu of Fiditour, said Phu Quoc, Con Dao (in the south), Ha Giang and Sa Pa (in the north) and Da Lat (in the Central Highlands) are the most booked destinations during this holiday. Currently, her company has yet to receive any requests for tour cancelations.

Hanoitourist also reported all of its four-day tours had already been sold out.

Authorities' concerns over Covid-19 risks, however, are on the rise given the intensified outbreaks in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Monday ordered people's committee chairmen to ensure local residents wear face masks in crowded areas, saying crowded events should be limited.

Many localities across Vietnam, including major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have canceled fireworks shows and crowded festivals to limit crowds.

Several Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Laos and Thailand have been struggling with a significant surge in community transmissions linked to new variants while India is being shaken by a coronavirus storm.

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